Government to take low income people to Bhashan Char

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury | Published at 01:57am on March 24, 2020

The government on Monday instructed all district administrations to send people from low income groups to Bhasan Char in Noakhali to make use of the island’s facilities, initially built to relocate Rohingya refugees there.

Residential and other facilities were built in the island at the cost of Tk 2500 crore to relocate over 1,00,000 forcibly-displaced Rohingya people of Myanmar to ease overcrowdings at camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban, according to government sources.

The initiative of the planned relocation reportedly faltered as the UN and other international rights bodies were against it and the Rohingya people were unwilling to move there.

‘The government has built residential and livelihood facilities in Bhashan Char. People willing to relocate there are called to avail these facilities,’ cabinet secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said at a press conference.

The press conference was held at the Bangladesh Secretariat to announce the government’s measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The call was made as a part of the government’s programme called ‘return to home’ facilitating transfer of the low income people incapable to maintain their livelihood in urban areas to rural areas, he said.

All deputy commissioners were instructed in this regard, he added.

The United Nations and other international rights bodies were urging the Bangladesh authorities for long not to rush for the relocation of Rohingya people to the island without assessing technical, humanitarian and security arrangements.

The latest Rohingya influx that began from August 25, 2017 took the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to about 11,16,000, according to estimates by UN agencies and the Bangladesh foreign ministry.